Banksy’s Broken Art Sold For $25.4 Million

One piece by British street artist Banksy, sensationally ripped to shreds right after being sold at an auction three years ago, sold for $25.4 million on Thursday (14/10). It was the highest price the artist had ever received, and it was almost 20 times the price of the painting before.

The painting, dubbed “Love is in the Bin,” was offered by auction house Sotheby’s in London, with an estimated presale of $5.5 million to $8.2 million.

After a 10 minute price ‘war’ that involved nine bidders in the sales room, either through online and a phone, the piece ended up selling for three times its estimated price to an undisclosed buyer. The sale price of $25,383,941 includes a fee for the auction house known as the buyer’s premium.

The work consists of a half-torn canvas in an ornate frame containing a spray-painted image of a girl grabbing a red heart-shaped balloon. When it was last sold at Sotheby’s in October 2018, it was known as “Girl With Balloon,” and sold for $1.4 million.

In this photo released by Sotheby's Auction House shows the auction process for Banksy's iconic work named "Love is the Bin" which took place in London on October 14, 2021. (Photo: Sotheby's via AP)

This photo released by Sotheby’s Auction House shows the auction process for Banksy’s iconic work called “Love is the Bin” taking place in London on October 14, 2021. (Photo: Sotheby’s via AP)

In an incident in 2018, when an unnamed European woman was declared the winner of the auction, Banksy’s hidden crusher embedded in the frame lit up, ripping the canvas until half of the canvas was hanging from the frame.

Sotheby’s was criticized at the time for failing to find the hidden destroyer. But the buyer still accepts the damaged work. The decision was considered appropriate because on Thursday (14/10) the price of the work jumped sharply.

The piece quickly became one of Banksy’s best-known works, and Sotheby’s included it on tours of cities around the world, including New York and Hong Kong before Thursday’s auction.

Auctioneer Oliver Barker jokingly said he was afraid of tapping the hammer to end Thursday’s sale. There was concern among Sotheby’s staff about another surprise plan Banksy might have. (ka/lt)

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